domingo, 25 de diciembre de 2022

PLOUGHSHARE - INTERVIEW



 Good morning, thank you very much for answering these questions, how is everything going in Canberra?

Ploughshare is going well at the moment, thank you! We are very happy to have finally released Ingested Burial Ground, and are in the midst of preparing for our next record and arranging shows for 2023.


1. Around 2017, you released your first EP. Is it around this time when you decided to create the band? Why did you choose the name Ploughshare and what to refer to?

Ploughshare formed in late 2015. We had all played music with each other in various other bands, and circumstances aligned at that time for us to start working together in this configuration. We recorded Literature of Piss in mid-2016, and started playing shows in 2017 following its release. Not to be overly deflationary, but ‘Ploughshare’ provides a moniker for our collaboration, and is simply the name under which we operate. Its origins, or its relationship to things outside the band, shouldn’t be taken as bearing upon the band’s existence.


2. Since your beginnings and despite not having a completely recognizable sound as classic, it is true that you have obtained a well-deserved recognition, how do you think a band like yours fits into the black/death scene of a country like Australia? And do you think that in some way the particularities of your sounds have played in favor of Ploughshare's positioning?

Assessing how we ‘fit in’ is difficult. We certainly share resonances with other bands – musical, conceptual, methodological – from Australia, and we are close friends with members of other bands. These connections have opened up opportunities for us to collaborate live and on record. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the community is small in Australia. Nonetheless, Australia’s heavy music scene is marked by its diversity; within cities and between cities, there are significant differences between the types of bands that may share a stage. Perhaps we fit in by affirming that diversity and striving to preserve it. 


3. Your recently released “Ingested Burial Ground” gives continuity to your previous Ep “Tellurian Insurgency” which serves as a bridge with your first album “In Offal, Salvation”, how do you think the sound has evolved between the first album and this second? How do you face the whole process of composition and recording of the songs? What brands of instruments have you used for the composition and recording of the album?

The process of writing and recording music over the last seven years together has given us a more precise sense of what Ploughshare sounds like and has allowed us to refine our own expectations and desires for how the band ought to sound. That refinement has involved shedding certain song-writing habits and gaining or developing others. It has taken time for us to recognise and appreciate what Ploughshare ‘is’. If this form is not yet entirely stable or entirely clear, we at least understand it better now.

Songs are typically written through one member bringing an idea or set of ideas to the rest of the band. These ideas will then get worked on both individually and as a group, until the final piece emerges. This is a laborious process and many of our songs exist in multiple draft iterations before we settle on a final form for the song. 

The song writing on Ingested Burial Ground took a slightly different form: one member composed the basic form of all the songs before the full band provided input for reworking the songs.

Synthesisers and samplers feature prominently on Ingested Burial Ground, but we also recorded live drums, guitars, and vocals. Drums and vocals were recorded in our rehearsal space and guitars were recorded at home.



4. I previously commented that your sound has a very personal touch, not without a certain complexity, avant-garde, hardcore, black/death, an oppressive atmosphere, industrial elements, where do you find inspiration and influences when putting forward a proposal? like yours? How would you define the sound of the new album for those who haven't heard it yet?

Our influences are very broad and varied. One aspect that has come increasingly clear to us over time is that we are far from in control of the way songs form, or ideas get expressed. Though we all bring with us a set of influences, in collaboration and in the context of preparing music such influences amalgamate in entirely unexpected ways. There are, however, clear touch-points for the music we make – Intensive Care, Deathspell Omega, Swans, Ved Buens Ende, Kathaaria, Abigor, and Godflesh being some of the most apparent. 

We would describe Ingested Burial Ground as a Ploughshare record using alternative instrumentation. Ingested Burial Ground is an extension or a re-working of elements already within our sound, but given a wider latitude, so to speak. It was important for us to explore the use of alternative instrumentation in a dedicated way.  


5. The album contains five versions of as many songs by five bands or projects that, while not being directly related to the black/death sound, the eclecticism of their sound lends itself to your version, in the case of: Sow Discord , Ignis Fatuus, Ascanyx, Xeno Chemist and Alex Macfarlane. At what point did you make the decision to include these versions on the new album and what does it mean for you?

We have long sought out collaborations with other musicians and bands we admire or find interesting. From our earlier collaborations with Andrew Nolan, we found working with others to be a particularly productive approach. There is much to the ‘back and forth’ involved in pursuing collaborations. This is not merely in the sense of exchanging files, but in the sense of discussing and addressing the work we are doing as a collaborative exercise. With each exchange, new aspects of the project became clear, while others fell away. And this is, for us, the enduring benefit of collaborating; the potential to approach things anew, and with different creative impetuses. It is also worth mentioning that the process of recording these songs lent itself especially to remixing. The assortment of collaborators reflect our own interests in their work and the approach they bring to music.


6. With such a dark, cold and devastating proposal, what themes do you cover in your lyrics? Who is in charge of writing the lyrics of the songs? Do you adapt the lyrics to the music or vice versa?

Lyrics are typically generated, in the first instance, by one or two members. Then, after they are shared, the lyrics are adjusted and edited by all members. When we start a record, we’ll generally make decisions then about the ideas covered in the lyrics. In the case of Ingested Burial Ground, the lyrics draw on a novel for inspiration. 

Adapting the lyrics to the music, or vice versa, is an interesting question. It is unclear whether we have really settled on a definitive approach to this. The lyrics themselves remain fluid throughout the recording process, and it is not uncommon for entire passages to be re-arranged. That said, the human voice, as an instrument, consumes most of our effort and attention during recording. This is not to say that the lyrics do not matter, or are merely adornment, but rather that the vehicle for communicating the lyrics is paramount. 


7. The process of recording and mixing your albums is something that you take care of personally, maybe in this new album you have opened up the range a bit more, but it is still something that you have very much control over, why this decision to take care of yourself? of this whole process?

When we record ourselves, we have more control over the process, including over the timeline for recording. We are also all very much supporters of a DIY ethic in underground music, and will privilege that approach where possible. This is not without its challenges, to be sure. While we can continue to capture the right recordings ourselves, we will continue to do so. There may come a time when we feel the music demands a different approach, and if that does happen, we are excited about the prospect of working with others. 


8. The new album cover, if possible, is even darker and murkier than its predecessors, who took care of the design of the album cover and how does it relate to the content of the album?

The cover was produced by JR, as all of our covers have been. It depicts material featured in the lyrics.



9. Have you already presented the new songs from “Ingested Burial Ground” live? What dates do you have planned for its presentation? Is it very difficult to transmit and display all the intensity and darkness of the album live?

We recently performed ‘A Horrible and Terrifying Impression’ when supporting Potion and Marijannah. The new songs present a new challenge for us as they require new instrumentation live, as well as a new configuration of the band, but we’ve found it successful so far. 

We are currently planning dates for next year. 


10. So to speak, in Australia there is a very strong and consolidated scene of both death and black, however there is no harmonious coexistence between the two, at the same time that they are limited to large towns such as Sydney, Canberra or Brisbane, how do you Would you describe the Australian extreme metal scene today? How does a band like yours fit into it? What bands would you recommend from Canberra?

We’ve played shows with Faceless Burial, Vile Apparition, Encircling Sea, Whitehorse, Potion, Impetuous Ritual, Kollaps and so many other bands. Perhaps it is a benefit of being from Canberra, but our experience has suggested much more co-existence of genres. The Australian extreme metal scene is small, but it contains many incredible bands. The relative isolation of Australia – and perhaps Canberra, in particular – seems conducive to a particularly unfettered form of creativity. 


11. You had kept publishing this new album with the Australian record label Brilliant Emperor Records, how did the possibility of publishing the new album with them come about? Is the cassette a current format for publishing music in physical format? Is there a possibility of that we see album reissued in some other format through another record label?

We are close friends with Brilliant Emperor and have worked with Pete over the last 4 years. It made sense to continue this partnership. Though we are always open to other formats, cassettes are relatively cheap and fast to produce, which gives them a great advantage. There is always the possibility of a re-release with a different label, but for now, we are quite content. 


12. How were your beginnings in music: first concerts you attended, first albums you bought? What event in your life pushed you to want to be a musician?

Our ‘first’ experiences and backgrounds vary. That said, we have all known one another for over 15 years. We attended the same shows as kids and have played in different bands together over the years, so there are many common reference points and experiences among us. Some of us picked up instruments young, around 8-12 years of age or so, but abandoned them for other instruments as our ambitions and interests changed. Others chose instruments and never strayed from them. 

In terms of what impelled us to play music, exposure to local bands at a young age was very important. 


13. What album represents for you the essence of black/death metal? What last albums have you bought?

That is a tricky question. Many bands do it well; not sure we’d be able to distil it down, in all honesty. In terms recent album acquisitions, we all bought Deathspell Omega – The Long Defeat, Faceless Burial – At the Foothills of Deliration, and Kathaaria – To be Shunned by All… As Centres of Pestilence.


14. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions for Black Metal Spirit, if you want to add something for the fans of Ploughshare this is the place. I hope the questions are to your liking.

Thanks for reaching out! And thanks to anyone who has checked us out, appreciate the support.


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- 350gsm gatefold jacket with matte varnish and inside flooded in black
- A2 poster on 150gsm art paper
- Limited to 500 copies





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